Before you buy a new house, a qualified home inspector is always your best bet for a thorough home evaluation, but you should also have a general understanding of what to look out for. A bad home inspection has the potential to derail a real estate transaction, especially if what’s uncovered is an expensive problem. Here are four issues that have been deal breakers, according to some Realtors.
Faulty Electrical Wiring:
The electrical system is an important, and potentially hazardous, part of a home, which is why it is included in every thorough home inspection Newer homes have more supply of power and electrical outlets. Older homes do not. A good inspector should check the outlets throughout the home as well as check the interior of the electrical breaker/fuse box assuring that there are no “double taps” – two electrical circuits attached to a single breaker – as it is a fire hazard. The wires, conduits, and boxes should be securely fixed to the building. There should be no visible signs of damage or deterioration. There should be at least one ground rod or other approved grounding means present at the service.
Some of these issues are obvious. Skilled inspectors are trained to find obvious, like a clogged toilet as well as the not so obvious, like illegal pipes that could result in being cited for plumbing violations. He will look around the entire home for signs of mildew, fungus or mold related to water leaking from broken pipes and cracks in the ceiling or floor.
Grading Toward the Home:
Water in the basement, damp or wet crawlspaces, foundation movement, cracking and settlement may all be caused by grading. Water in the foundation could lead to rot in the walls, framing members and mold. Some indications of foundation movement include windows that are out of square; interior doors that have large, uneven gaps at the top when the door is closed; or floors visibly out of level. Some of the most experienced home inspectors believe that the most common issue they find during inspections is the lack of grading (improperly sloped soil) away from the home.
A roof usually lasts about 30 years, so you will need to find out when it was installed. A home inspector will look at the quality of the shingles and know if any are curled, broken, or even missing which are signs that you might need a new roof soon.
The Bottom Line: Whether any of these issues are deal breaker depends on your preferences and needs. Any issue such as the four listed might be too expensive or time-consuming to fix. However, you might find these issues acceptable and have the resources to get them fixed. The home inspector should not tell anyone to buy or not to buy a home. It’s just his job to provide all the information needed so that the home buyer can make the right decision for them.